The Glass Menagerie

by Tennessee Williams

Excerpt from Scene iii: Tom

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[crouching toward her, overtowering her tiny figure. She backs away, gasping]: I’m going
to opium dens ! Yes, opium dens, dens of vice and criminals’ hang-outs, Mother. I’ve joined the Hogan gang, I’m a hired assassin, I carry a tommy-gun in a violin case! I run a string of cathouses in the Valley! They call me Killer, Killer Wingfield, I’m leading a double-life, a simple, honest warehouse worker by day, by night a dynamic tsar of the underworld, Mother. I go to gambling casinos, I spin away fortunes on the roulette table ! I wear a patch over one eye and a false moustache, sometimes I put on green whiskers. On those occasions they call me -El Diablo! Oh, I could tell you things to make you sleepless! My enemies plan to dynamite this place. They’re going to blow us all sky-high some night! I’ll be glad, very happy, and so will you! You’ll go up, up on a broomstick, over Blue Mountain with seventeen gentlemen callers! You ugly – babbling old – witch. [He goes through a series of violent, clumsy movements, seizing his overcoat, lunging to do door, pulling it fiercely open. The women watch him, aghast. His arm catches in the sleeve of the coat as he struggles to pull it on. For a moment he is pinioned by the bulky garment. With an outraged groan he tears the coat of again, splitting the shoulder of it, and hurls it across the room. It strikes against the shelf of Laura’s glass collection, there is a tinkle of shattering glass. LAURA cries out as if wounded.]